Declutter your digital life (part two)

Don’t miss the first part of this article – find it here!

Is your email inbox a disaster zone? Do you have hundreds of unread messages clogging up your inbox? Are you wasting time every week scrolling through social media in the hope of finding something interesting? It’s time to declutter your digital life!

How to declutter your digital life – part two

Get to Inbox Zero

If you want to master your emails and cut it down to a manageable task every day, possibly even getting to the holy grail of no emails in your inbox, it’s time to get to work.

Tackle those old emails!

When you open your email, are there thousands of emails just sitting in your inbox? If yes, it’s time to delete and archive. If you have the time, I recommend that you go through your inbox and start to delete emails you will never need again. That special offer from ASOS from 2 years ago? That can be deleted – unless you own a time machine! I tend to delete emails while waiting for my coffee order or standing at the bus stop. It’s surprising how quickly you can get through them.

However, if you don’t have the time/will to go through your inbox and delete, at least archive them. Archiving them will take them out of your inbox but they are still searchable. So if you archive that email from your boss from 6 months ago, you will still be able to search for it and retrieve it. My recommendation is to archive everything in your inbox that is over a month old. Chances are you won’t need that email again but at least you can retrieve it if you have to.

Unsubscribe from Newsletters

If your inbox is cluttered with newsletters that you hardly ever read, you need Unroll.me in your life. It will show you all the newsletters you are subscribed to and you can easily unsubscribe from whatever you don’t want. This literally takes a couple of minutes. I guarantee you’ll be surprised at all the newsletters you’re subscribed to.

Take control of when you send and receive email messages

Another tool that has totally changed my email game is Boomerang For Gmail. This tool allows you schedule an email to be sent later and reminds you of the email if no one has followed up with you. I love this tool because sometimes I work until 3/4am. Generally, I don’t want the person I’m sending an email to, know that I’m working this late. So I schedule the email to be sent at 8am while I’m fast asleep. Also if I sent an email to someone and they haven’t responded, Boomerang will remind me to follow up with that person. This can be really useful for teamwork etc.

Use a to-do list, not your inbox!

For many people, the reason their inbox becomes unmanageable is that they treat their inbox like a to-do list. They leave emails to accumulate because they need to reply or do some other action. Don’t do this. Have a separate to-do list, that way your inbox doesn’t become cluttered.
I love the tool Wunderlist. It allows you to add, organize and schedule your to-dos from your phone, tablet or computer. You can also set due dates and reminders to ensure you never forget important deadlines. It also allows you to share lists and collaborate on your to-dos with family, friends and colleagues. Much more useful as a to-do list than your inbox.

Manage your Social Media

There is so much excess noise on social media, it can feel overwhelming to even scroll through your newsfeed. These tips should help you feel more in control every time you log in.

 

Unfollow groups and pages

Marie Kondo, author of the bestselling book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’, encourages people to only keep things that spark joy in them. I follow this philosophy when it comes to social media. It can be so easy to hit like on pages and groups. But often the content they show you are spam, boring, click-bait or negative. However because we are mindlessly scrolling, we hardly notice. This week as you scroll, think about how the content you are looking at makes you feel. Do you really need those groups and pages in your life? You may also want to do this with your Friend List.

Don’t ‘hate-follow’ people

As a blogger, I am always surprised at people that follow someone only to write negative or hurtful comments on everything they do. You see it on Instagram and Facebook all the time. Why would you want that negative energy in your life? If you find yourself ‘hate-following’ someone on social media, take 30 seconds and ask yourself – how is this benefiting my life? If it’s not bringing 3 positive things into your life, unfollow and move on.

Turn off notifications

Social media platforms like Facebook want you to get lots of notifications so you’ll open the app every time to see what they are. Turning off notifications can help you curb your habit of scrolling mindlessly.

These tips should help you feel less overwhelmed every time you log into email or social media. Have you any tips on how to declutter your digital life further? What have I missed? Let me know in the comments below.

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Sinead has three passions in life - blogging, books and booze. She is the owner of sineadsocial.com, a website that helps new bloggers build and grow their own blogs. She runs a monthly blogger meetup in Dublin through GirlCrew Bloggers.

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